Hostile Environment Harassment

News & Analysis as of

Employers Can be Liable For Acts of Anonymous Harassers

A recent federal court case emphasized an important lesson for all companies to consider: employers are under an obligation to investigate employee complaints of a hostile work environment even if the identity of the harasser...more

Hostile Work Environment: Playing Defense to Offensive Workplace Conduct

A hostile environment can result from the unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors or anyone else with whom the victim interacts on the job when the unwelcome conduct renders the workplace...more

Federal Court Says Employer Can Be Liable for Acts of Anonymous Harasser

As a major national company learned recently, employers cannot shirk their obligations to investigate employee complaints of a hostile work environment simply because the identity of the harasser is unknown. Failure to...more

New Harassment and Retaliation Standard in Fourth Circuit

Last month, in Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., No. 13-1473 (4th Cir. May 7, 2015), the federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which includes North and South Carolina, articulated a new standard for analyzing...more

Cumulative Harassment Theory Must Include Individual Claims That Meet Severe and Pervasive Threshold

Sometimes, employees believe that they have been discriminated against or harassed based on their membership in multiple protected categories. Employers often receive EEOC charges that identify race and sex, or age and...more

Single Incident of Severe Verbal Harassment Can Be Sufficient to Establish a Hostile Working Environment

In Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., 2015 WL 2116849 (4th Cir. May 7, 2015), the Fourth Circuit recently held that an isolated, but "extremely serious" incident of verbal harassment can establish a hostile work...more

Fourth Circuit Joins Other Federal Courts in Broadly Interpreting the Scope of Title VII Retaliation Claims

On May 7, 2015, the Fourth Circuit ruled that an isolated instance of harassment, if "extremely serious," can create a hostile work environment, and that complaining about such harassment constitutes protected activity under...more

In a Win for Employees, Fourth Circuit Finds That Two Racial Slurs May Support Harassment Claim

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently made two noteworthy rulings in a single case concerning sexual harassment and retaliation under Title VII. First, as it relates to sexual harassment, the Court found that two...more

Lowering the Bar: Fourth Circuit Rules Single Incident Sufficient to Trigger Title VII Hostile Work Environment Claim

Out with the old and in with the new. In a decision issued last week, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held that a single incident of harassment was sufficient to move a harassment claim forward. This decision is certainly...more

Fourth Circuit Lowers the Bar in Title VII Harassment and Retaliation Cases

On May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (covering Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland) issued an opinion that potentially makes it easier for employees to survive...more

Several Ounces of Prevention: The New Jersey Supreme Court Reminds Employers of the Importance of Anti-Harassment Policies,...

On February 11, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court, in Aguas v. New Jersey, decided three important legal issues regarding employment discrimination claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). First,...more

Workplace Harassment Still a Major Problem Experts Tell EEOC at Meeting

EEOC Chair Announces Task Force to Develop Strategies to Prevent and Correct Harassment - WASHINGTON-Workplace harassment is alleged in approximately 30 percent of all charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment...more

EEOC Sues DHD Ventures and Affiliated Companies for Racial Harassment and Retaliation

Real Estate Management Company Fired Employees After Complaining About Harassment, Federal Agency Charges - GREENVILLE, S.C. - DHD Ventures Management Company, Inc., a New York-based real estate management company,...more

Toxic Work Cultures are (Really, Really) Bad for Business: Tech Sector Missteps Serve as Reminders for Us All

Rarely do we see an industry of professionals engage in misconduct as egregious as what we are seeing today in the tech sector. The intoxicating cocktail of power, money and prestige has combined to put many female...more

EEOC Sues County Fair Farm for Sexual Harassment

Federal Agency Charges County Fair Farm With Subjecting Female Farmworkers to Groping, Verbal Abuse, Solicitations for Sex - BOSTON -- County Fair Farm, a farm and produce wholesaler located in Jefferson, Maine,...more

When Employees Solve Problems With Their Fists

Generally speaking, human resources professionals and business executives have become quite adept at dealing with employee claims for illegal harassment. For example, just about any HR manager can provide a definition of a...more

EEOC Sues Mel-K Management Company for Race- and Sex-Based Harassment and Retaliation

Manager Hurled Racial and Sex-Based Epithets at Workers, Fired a Harassment Victim for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges - CLEVELAND - Mel-K Management Company violated federal law by subjecting a class of employees...more

EEOC Sues Carolina Metal Finishing for Racial Harassment

Bishopville Plant Subjected African-American Employee to Racial Abuse and Fired Him for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges - COLUMBIA, S.C. - Carolina Metal Finishing, LLC, a Bishopville, S.C.-based metal finishing...more

EEOC Sues VXI Global Solutions for Systemic Sexual Harassment of Call Center Staff

Supervisors Openly Subjected Both Female & Male Staff to Constant Sexual Propositions, Graphic Pictures, Foul Language & Groping, Says Federal Agency - LOS ANGELES - VXI Global Solutions, a provider of call center...more

Court Throws Out "Me Too" Harassment Claims

One might think displays of Confederate flags and nooses, racial slurs and evidence of malicious graffiti and epithets is enough to establish a racially hostile work environment. However, a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of...more

EEOC Sues MountainKing Potatoes for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Supervisors Harassed Female Farmworkers Over Period of Time, Then Punished Them for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges - DENVER - MountainKing Potatoes, the name under which Smokin' Spuds, Inc. and Farming Technology,...more

Illinois Municipality Concludes Probe on Hostile Work Environment

Blowing the whistle does not always need to involve fraud and malfeasance. Sometimes a culture of apathy allows a hostile work environment to develop that can only be addressed with outside intervention. Employees and...more

Rampant Sexual Misconduct in Indiana Prison Shows Pitfalls for Employers

Believe it or not, this is not a scene from the new season of Orange is the New Black. It’s actually the opening lines from Orton-Bell v. Indiana, No. 13-1235 (7th Cir. July 21, 2014), an opinion authored by Judge Manion, and...more

Seventh Circuit Says One Use of “N-Word” Does Not Create Hostile Work Environment

Under Title VII, single acts of verbal abuse typically do not rise to the level of legally actionable harassment. Only when these behaviors are repeated over a discrete period of time will courts consider them to create a...more

The CIA’s Epic Failure in Protecting Employees: Culture of Accountability Begins with Mandatory Workplace Harassment Training and...

You’ve probably seen the multiple stories and blogs that were published last week on the sad state of the workplace at the CIA. I read this post on the PBS Newshour site, noting that 15 CIA employees were found to have...more

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